ERROR LOADING HTML FROM SOURCE (http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu//design/skins/UFDC/html/header_item.html)

Rex Perpetuus Norwegiae

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004498/00001

Material Information

Title: Rex Perpetuus Norwegiae Lingship and Conversion in Eleventh-Century Norway
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Fasig, Danielle
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Medieval
Norway
Saint
Christianization
Kingship
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This thesis examines kingship and conversion in eleventh-century Norway during the reign of Olaf Haraldsson, better known as Saint Olaf. Olaf reigned from 1015 until 1028, when he was exiled from Norway by his people due to their dissatisfaction with his legislation and Christianization. He returned to Norway two years later only to be killed at the battle of Stiklestad by an army of Norwegians. A year later he was recognized as a saint and became the most important saint in all of Scandinavia. Paradoxically, his death cemented what he attempted to do in life and resulted in a Norway that was unified, independent and at peace for another century. This thesis examines the ways that his roles as legislator and converter both led to his death and resulted in the completion of his goals after he became a saint. It focuses particularly on the effects these roles had both during and after his life, as well as some of the literature written about him.
Statement of Responsibility: by Danielle Fasig
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Benes, Carrie

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 F2
System ID: NCFE004498:00001

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004498/00001

Material Information

Title: Rex Perpetuus Norwegiae Lingship and Conversion in Eleventh-Century Norway
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Fasig, Danielle
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Medieval
Norway
Saint
Christianization
Kingship
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This thesis examines kingship and conversion in eleventh-century Norway during the reign of Olaf Haraldsson, better known as Saint Olaf. Olaf reigned from 1015 until 1028, when he was exiled from Norway by his people due to their dissatisfaction with his legislation and Christianization. He returned to Norway two years later only to be killed at the battle of Stiklestad by an army of Norwegians. A year later he was recognized as a saint and became the most important saint in all of Scandinavia. Paradoxically, his death cemented what he attempted to do in life and resulted in a Norway that was unified, independent and at peace for another century. This thesis examines the ways that his roles as legislator and converter both led to his death and resulted in the completion of his goals after he became a saint. It focuses particularly on the effects these roles had both during and after his life, as well as some of the literature written about him.
Statement of Responsibility: by Danielle Fasig
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Benes, Carrie

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 F2
System ID: NCFE004498:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text

PAGE 1

R EX PERPETUUS NORWEGIAE : KINGSHIP & CONVERSION IN ELEVENTH CENTURY NORWAY BY DANIELLE FASIG A THESIS Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor o f Arts S arasota F lorida M ay, 2011

PAGE 2

ii Acknowledgments guidance throughout this project, as well as throughout my undergraduate career. I am also grateful to my committee members, Dr. Nova Myhill and Dr. Thomas McCarthy, for their support. I would also like to thank my friends and family for their help, encouragement, and patience.

PAGE 3

iii CONTENTS List of Figures i v Abstract v INTRODUCTION 1 Ch apter One. Olaf, the Missionary King 1 3 Chapter Two. Olaf as King and Saint in Olafs saga Helga and Passio et Miracula Beati Olavi 2 7 Chapter Three. Olaf, Rex Perpetuus Norwegiae 4 3 CONCLUSION 60 Appendix 1. Map of Medieval Scandinavia 64 Appendix 2. Kings and Rulers 6 5 Appendix 3. Textual Relationships of 6 7 WORKS CITED 6 9

PAGE 4

iv LIST OF FIGURES 1. slab from Kirk Andreas. Image courtesy of http://www.iomguide.com/crosses/andreas/no128.php. 2. Cross slab from Kirk Andreas. Image courtesy of http://www.iomguide.com/crosses/andreas/no128.php.

PAGE 5

v REX PERPETUUS NORWEGIAE : KINGSHIP & CONVERSION IN ELEVENTH CENTURY NORWAY Danielle Fasig New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT This thesis examines k ingship and conversion in eleventh century Norway during the reign of Olaf Haraldsson, better known as Saint Olaf. Olaf reigned from 1015 until 1028, when he was exiled from Norway by his people due to their dissatisfaction with his legislation and Christi anization. He returned to Norway two years later only to be killed at the battle of Stiklestad by an army of Norwegians. A year later he was recognized as a saint and became the most important saint in all of Scandinavia. Paradoxically, his death cemented what he attempted to do in life and resulted in a Norway that was unified, independent and at peace for another century. This thesis examines the ways that his roles as legislator and converter both led to his death and resulted in the completion of his go als after he became a saint. It focuses particularly on the effects these roles had both during and after his life, as well as some of the literature written about him. Dr. Carrie Bene Division of Social Sciences

PAGE 6

1 Introduction om to rise betimes in the morning, put on his clothes, wash his hands, and then go to the church and hear the matins and morning mass. Thereafter he went to the Thing meeting, to bring people to agreement with each other, or to talk of one or the other mat ter that appeared to him necessary. He invited great and small who were known to be men of understanding. He often made them recite to him the laws which Hakon son had made for Throndheim; and after considering them with those men of und erstanding, he ordered laws adding to or taking from those established before. But Christian privileges he settled according to the advice of Bishop Grimbel and other learned priests; and bent his whole mind to uprooting heathenism, and odd customs which h e thought contrary to Christianity. 1 Olaf Haraldsson (king of Norway from 1015 to 1028), better known as Saint Olaf, had to deal with a variety of religious and political problems throughout his reign. As the above quote demonstrates he and his reign ca me to be defined by these problems and the way he dealt with them. Olaf was unique among medieval Scandinavian kings because of the way he synthesized disparate aspects of his reign into a cohesive Christian monarchy. As Snorri describes, he was a lawmaker and great dispenser of justice and an enthusiastic missionary at the same time. H is reign represents a turning point in Scandinavian history precisely because he combined these areas of his rule in order to create a new form of government in Norway. Altho ugh he was not successful in his own lifetime, his death cemented these efforts and produced a unified Norway that continued in peace and independence for another hundred years and remains predominantly Christian today. vided both politically and religiously. During his reign, Olaf labored to unify Norway under one religion and to combine a monarchial form of government with Christianity. The development of a Christian monarchy in Norway similar to continental models did not come about until after his death, when his reputation 1 Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla trans. Samuel Laing (Lexington: Forgotten Books, 2008), 226.

PAGE 7

2 as a saint cemented the efforts he made during life. While many kings before him had brought about changes towards the development of a Christian monarchy, it was not until Olaf that these changes w ere cemented and made permanent. Until the eighth or ninth century rule in Scandinavia was shared by a number of chieftains, who were lords of men, not of land. 2 Assemblies known as things were responsible for the governance of the land, although they di d not have any executive power. Denmark was the first Scandinavia n country to develop a monarchy, with extant r ecords of a Danish line of kings from 804, although the line began well before that date, which is evident in that it was well established when t he records began. Starting in the ninth century many chieftains across Scandinavia recognized the Danish king as overlord. The Dane Harald Bluetooth (king of Denmark from c. 958 to 987) was considered the first king of Norway as well. As his successors wou ld after him, he used a native Norwegian jarl or earl, to rule Norway under him. Scandinavian kingship was highly dependent on the things and on the support of the local leaders. The king s ruled by the consent of the people in that they had to gain the acceptance and support of the chieftains at these assemblies. Rulers who became unpopular frequently ended their reigns in exile. The first king in Scandinavia to adopt Christianity Harald Klak, who ruled parts of Denmark in the early ninth century, was e xiled a year after he was baptized, probably because of dissatisfaction with his introduction of Christianity. 3 Even if not exiled, kings often had their actions limited by the decisions of the assemblies. Hakon the Good (king of Norway from 936 to 960) at tempted to introduce and encourage 2 Birgit and Peter Sawyer, Medieval Scandinavia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 49. 3 Ibid., 101. Harald Klak ruled Denmark from 812 to 813, was deposed, and ruled again from 819 to 927 before being deposed a second time.

PAGE 8

3 Christianity but was forced to stop after the chieftains expressed their opposition to such an effort. 4 As the power of the king grew to include legislation and executive duties in addition to religious roles in Norway a nd other Scandinavia countries so did the power of the assemblies. While the original things did not have executive power and were more closely related to religious cults than legislation, law things which started to appear in Norway in the tenth century were able to address these issues The first law thing the Gulathing, was established in the tenth century in the western Norwegian province of Vestlandet ; this was an area that was firmly under the control of Harald Finehair an example which demonstrate s the link between the law things and the power of the king 5 However, despite the fact that these law things were associated with the growth of royal authority, the power to make laws was still divided among a group of people rather than reserved to the m onarch alone. Religion in Scandinavia divided between pagan practices and Christianity, was also in transition du ring the early eleventh century when Olaf reigned. Although Christianity may have been at least known of in parts of Scandinavia since the ti me of the Roman Empire, it was not until the early ninth century that missionaries were permitted to enter Scandinavia. 6 While the first king was converted in 826, as described above, Christianity was not broadly accepted until later. Even when it was broa dly accepted, the difficulty in full conversion lay in the polytheistic nature of traditional pagan beliefs. Many Scandinavians were willing to accept the Christian God as a god, but not as the only one. 7 In fact, modern scholars 4 Ibid., 102. 5 Knut Helle, ed., Cambridge History of Scandinavia Volume I: Prehistory to 1520 (Cambridge: Cambridge Universit y Press, 2003),186. 6 Sawyer and Sawyer, 100. 7 Ibid., 101.

PAGE 9

4 estimate that there was a period of religious overlap that lasted as long as two hundred years in some areas. In these areas, Christianity often influenced the existing pagan religion, including the development of the idea of Valhalla and the creation of actual pagan temples instea d of the earlier form of open air worship. 8 When Olaf took the throne in 1015, conversion to Christianity and the development of the church was incomplete. Since the mid ninth century when the missionary Anskar became archbishop of Hamburg Bremen, all of Scandinavia had been considered a part of that archdiocese. However, the archbishopric had traditionally done little or nothing to encourage Christianity in Scandinavia and the work was typically left t o Scandinavian kings and foreign (usually English) bi shops and missionaries. In 948 Adaldag, the archbishop of Hamburg Bremen, consecrated bishops for Schleswig, Ribe and rhus, but there is no indication that these bishops even visited the areas much less established sees 9 At one point, Knut the Great (ki ng of Denmark from 1019 to 1035) tried to free Denmark from the influence of Hamburg Bremen by having bishops consecrated by the archbishop of Canterbury. 10 Regular dioceses were not organized in Denmark until the reign of Knut. 11 Therefore, while much of th acceptance of the Christian God as the only god, the conversion of remote areas, and the organization of the church were all still in a state of transition between full paganism or Christi anity when Olaf became king. 8 Kre Lunden, formation and change in social infrastructure in Norway c. AD 950 Scandinavian Journa l of History 22. 2, (1997), 3. 9 Knut Helle, ed., Cambridge History of Scandinavia Volume I: Prehistory to 1520 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 149. 10 Ibid., 151. Knut was also king of England from 1016 to 1035, king of Norway from 1028 to 1035, and king of parts of Sweden from 1026 to 1030. 11 Sawyer and Sawyer, 107.

PAGE 10

5 This thesis examines the ways that Olaf combined political and religious aspects of his reign to develop a Christian monarchy in Norway, as expressed in the writings of both during and after his life, was largely defined by his efforts to convert the Norwegians fully to Christianity and also by his role as a law maker and dispenser of justice. His actions during his reign were similar to those of his continental predecessors like Charlemagne, who strengthened his reign through efforts to make his kingdom more uniform in a variety of areas. 12 most defined him eventually led to his exile and death. Strangely enough, his death had a greater effect on the Norwegian monarchy than his actions in life, as the complicated series of events that followed from his death to his recognition as a saint resulted in a Norway that was fully Christian and would remain stable and independent for another hundred years. H is reign is also notable for the large amount of literature that was produced about it e extremely religious to the secular, each one eventually arrives at the same depiction of Olaf and his reign based on his roles as converter and law maker. Although this thesis only closely examines two of these works, the variety and sheer number of medi eval works that has been produced about Olaf make him a fascinating subject of study for students of both literature and history. One of the difficulties in studying Olaf comes from the divided nature of medieval Scandinavian studies in general. As Peter Foote describes many difficulties are produced in the study of medieval Scandinavia by the lack of cooperation and collaboration between 12 Charlemagne was king of the Franks from 768 to 814 and emperor of the Romans from 800 to 814.

PAGE 11

6 historians and literary scholars. 13 One of the primary points of contention lies in the debate over the historical valu and, while there are usually close textual affiliations between them, the works vary in how they address each topic and how great an effort they make towards historical accuracy. Mode rn histories of medieval Scandinavia tend to use either literary sources, like the sagas, more historical sources like chronicles, or archaeological evidence, but the three are rarely used together in the same work. Authors tend to work only with whichever area they are most comfortable with, rather than branching out and combining them. In addition to the debates over the historical accuracy or the different sources due to their different intentions, there is also conflict over the place of oral history in these studies. Most sources both historical and literary were written down hundreds of years after the events that they write about. A question that is frequently posed today is to what extent anecdotes and accounts that were passed down orally can be trusted and how true they are to their original form if that can ever be known. There is evidence both towards the reliability of written sources derived from oral accounts and against it, and therefore all scholars of medieval Scandinavia must determi ne for themselves the extent to which they are willing to use and trust these sources. This thesis focuses on using both historical and literary writings in its examination of r its arguments is drawn from written accounts. It is t herefore an amalgamation of literary and historical approaches. The thesis works closely with the sources throughout in order to 13 Viking Reevaluations: Viking Society Centenary Symposium, May 14 15, 1992 eds. Anthony Faulkes and Richard Perkins (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1993).

PAGE 12

7 determine both how Olaf changed the political and religious state of No rway during and after his reign, and how he was perceived by medieval authors. Furthermore, this thesis differs from previous studies of Olaf by including in its scope aspects of his impact both on literature and on the history of Scandinavia Many studi es of Olaf are either general biographies or focus on specific aspects of his reign for example focusing on his career as a Viking and how it affected his reign 14 Some modern scholars including the Sawyers, have even tried to downplay his role in the Chr istianization of Norway, arguing that more credit was given to him than he deserved because of his canonization (though unofficial) and the subsequent popularity of his cult. Rather than presenting this thesis focuses specifical ly on how Olaf combined religion and politics in his reign to produce a Christian monarchy and how these aspects were perceived by later medieval authors. The primary sources used in this thesis, in roughly chronological order, are the poems of the skald Sigvat Thordarson (written between 1015 and 1045), selections from the Anglo Saxon Chronicle (1028 to 1055), Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum (circa 1075 ), the Passio et Miraculi Beati Olavi ( written between 1160 and 1180 ) Theodo ricus Historia de Antiquitate Regum Norwagiensium (written between 1177 and 1188) the grip af Nregskonungasgum ( dated to about 1190 ) the Gesta Danorum of Saxo Grammaticus ( finished no earlier than 1208 ) Heimskringla ( writt en around 1230 ) and finally the laws of the Gulathing and the Frostathing as well as some archaeological evidence. There are a number of differences between the sources. The earliest were written by a man who knew Olaf personally, while the oldest was wr itten two hundred years after his death. The sources also come from a wide range of areas. Sigvat, the authors of the Passio 14 The Vikings, A History (New York: Vikings 2009), 348 364.

PAGE 13

8 and the grip and Theodoricus were all Norwegian. Adam was German; the Anglo Saxon Chronicle was, of course, En glish; Saxo was Dan ish, and Snorri was Icelandic. Although best known for his relationship with Olaf, Sigvat is significant in Old Norse literature for his role as the first skaldic poet to avoid entirely the use of pagan kennings. Little is known about his life, since he c ame from a poor background. Scholars do was even responsible for na Adam of Bremen wrote his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum in several parts; the first two dealt with the history of the see, the third with archbishop Adalbert, and the final with the land, people, and customs of the area including Scandinavia. Because the many accounts of the people and events taking place there. 15 The Passio et Miraculi Beati Olavi is the most religious of the w orks discussed in this thesis. It exists in two versions, the longer of which is used here, and is a hagiographical work that is meant to educate monks before the feast day of St. Olaf. Scholars speculate that the work was compiled from collections of mira cle stories kept at Scandinavian shrines to Olaf and from the Norwegian Homily Book. 16 Its authorship is debated among modern scholars, but most agree that at least part of it was written by Eystein Erlendsson, archbishop of Niaros from 1157 to 1188. Schol ars also speculate that the Passio may have shared a source with Theodoricus called Translati o sancti Olavi which is now lost. 15 Adalbert was archbishop of Hamburg Bremen from 1043 to 1072. 16 Carl Phelpstead, ed., A History of Norway and the Passion and Miracles of the Blessed "lfr, trans. Devra Kunin (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2001), xxxiii

PAGE 14

9 Historia de Anti quitate Regum Norwagiensium is a historical work written by a Norwegian author, Theodoric us Monachus, who was probably a monk. The work is characterized not only by its more religious approach to Norwegian history, but also by its frequent digressions on various subjects such as comments on the methods of calculating the number of years from the beginning of the world 17 Modern scholars consider him as a valuable and interesting source because of these frequent comments on the past. Theodoricus may have used the lost works of Ari and Saemundr as well as other early sagas which do survive, namel y the Oldest Saga of Saint Olaf. Theodoricus grip af Nregskonungasgum an anonymous, synoptic history of Norway. Scholars think it is work is particularly notable since, in addition to written sources like Theodoricus it also relies heavily on oral sources and skaldic poetry. 18 Saxo Grammaticus wrote his Gesta Danorum as a highly nationalistic work of history, making it the most bias ed work used in this thesis. It covers a wide range of topics with the first half devoted to Norse mythology and the second half focusing on medieval Scandinavian history and a description of Danish conquests. The work is strongly unfavorable towards Norwe gians and gives only a minimum of praise to Olaf, who, as the most important saint in Scandinavia, it would not have been appropriate to criticize. Snorri Sturluson was a prolific Icelandic author who, in addition to the masterpiece g that is the Heimskringla also wrote the Prose Edda and probably the family saga as well. Each of these is considered by modern scholars to be the masterpiece of its respective genre. Snorri wrote the Heimskringla from a strongly secular 17 Theodoricus Monachus, Historia de Antiquitate Regum Norwagiensium trans. David and Ian McDougall (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1998), 31 33. 18 M.J. Driscoll, ed., grip af Nregskonungasgum (London: Viking Society for Northern Researc h, 1995), xvii.

PAGE 15

10 view point and tended not to relate religious anecdotes. Nevertheless, he could not help but include some in writing about the patron saint of Norway. Snorri wrote at the end of the period s aga writing which lasted from the early twelfth century to t he mid thirteenth century, and therefore used many of his predecessors as sources. However, he was not a mere copyist or adapter, and examined each source critically for historical accuracy in a way more similar to modern methods than most medieval works. 19 Finally, the Gulathing and the Frostathing originated as the law things described above and were eventually written down between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. These law nd include laws that specifically refer to Olaf as a source of authority. One of the difficulties of working with these sources, and a dominant part of the scholarship written about them, is the complex textual affiliations between them. This thesis will not delve into these problems in depth since scholars have devoted enormous amounts of time to establishing the sources of a given work and the scope of the study is enormous due to the large amount of disagreement and uncertainty The complexities of the issues are summarized well by Theodore Andersson but this is only an introduction. 20 Many of the back to two, now lost, works by Icelandic authors Ari orgilsson a nd Smundr Sigfsson, Norwegian synoptics authors of the second developed, including the works of Theodoricus and the grip. Howev er, this is when complications begin to arise, as scholars are fairly certain that the grip used Theodoricus as a source, but 19 Sverre Bagge, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 31. 20 Konungasgur Old Norse Icelandic Literatur e (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 197 238.

PAGE 16

11 ment about how non saga sources such as Ad am of Bremen and skaldic poetry may have the proper sagas, none of which are used in this thesis, and the major compendia, which includes the Heims k ringla To give a final idea of the complexity of the issue, one version of Morkinskinna and the grip, which by proxy includes the work of Theodoricus and another proposed lost work. 21 R egardless of exactly which sourc e informed which, it is clear that the sources used in this thesis are closely connected. politics and rel igion a ffected his reign and cemented his efforts after his death, as well as the way these aspects of his reign are depicted in two notable examples from later literature. The first chapter examines how he combined his efforts to fully convert Norway to Christianity and exterminate paganism with his role s as law maker and dispenser of justice in hopes of creating a model of Christian monarchy in Norway. This chapter uses a variety of works, including sagas, poetry, and law codes, and examines their descriptions of Olaf in the aforementioned roles as well as his role as a missionary king. It concludes before his exile to Russia and his death at Stiklestad. The second chapter Olafs saga Helga and Passio et Miracula Beati Olavi focus es on the way that Olaf is desc ribed both as king and as saint in two vastly different works, the Passio et Miraculi Beati Olavi and the Olafs saga Helga from the Heimskringla This chapter examines the way that these two works describe him in the above mentioned roles and concludes tha t, despite their vastly different approaches to his writing about his 21

PAGE 17

12 life, the two arrive at generally the same conclusions about Olaf. Rather than survey historical sources about his life, this chapter focuses on a close reading of these two works essen tially narrowing in on the work done in the previous chapter. The focus is also placed more on Olaf as a literary figure than as a historical one, preparing for the focus placed in The third and fin al chapter Rex Perpetuus Norwegiae combines the focus of the first chapter with that of the second, looking both at how death cemented what he attempted to do in life as well as how later generations understood him and used him towa rds their own purposes in these areas. The way that medieval Scandinavians understood Olaf was important in dictating his torical events after his death, so this chapter, while using the same sources as the first, focuses not only on what they say, but more so on what the descriptions of Olaf in the sources reveal about how Olaf was understood by later generations n important one for the history of Scandinavia, not only for what he did during his reign, but also for the way it affected h istory and literature after his death. His combination of legislation with conversion resulted in the development of a Christian monarchy in Norway. Heimskringla given in the epigraph summarizes him in his many r oles : as legislator, as a dispenser of justice, and as a missionary king, hinting towards the way that all of these would be combined by the end of his

PAGE 18

13 Chapter One Olaf, the Missionary King Medieval Scandinav ian authors agree that Olaf Haraldsson was the third in a series of Christianizing kings in Norway. Unlike his predecessors, however, Olaf succeeded in the total conversion of Norway. Perhaps more significant, he reached this success by combining religio us zeal with political ambition which resulted in the creation of the first truly Christian monarchy in Norway. The development away from a territory split into many petty kingdoms and divided politically and religiously was achieved through his insistence on uniformity, generally accompanied by the strength needed to enforce it. Like Charlemagne in the Frankish empire before him, Olaf created a homogenous kingdom through mass conversions to Christianity and the extermination of paganism, the conquering of n ew areas of Norway, and the establishment of new laws. the government of Norway was determined by groups of people rather than a single ruler. In the ninth century, affairs were largely regulated by the local ass emblies, known as things. 1 In these assemblies local freemen gathered together to make decisions regarding political, social, and religious issues. This relatively democratic form of government did not last long since the growth of royal authority limited the people allowed to participate in the things to an increasingly more elite and aristocratic group. Special assemblies developed from these things in Norway during the tenth century. Following the historical trend mentioned above, only select representat ives were allowed to attend and make decisions at these assemblies, which were known as Law things. 2 Their main difference from the earlier things is revealed in their title; the assemblies were legislative as well as judicial, creating new laws and theref ore having broader influence and control. 1 Birgit and Peter Sawyer, Medieval Scandinavia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 81 2 Ibid., 83.

PAGE 19

14 The first Law things were established during the time of Harald Finehair (ruled 880 to 930) and they are therefore associated with the growth of royal power. 3 Administrative districts called from which these representatives were chosen, were mainly established 4 There was a gradual shift of power from the representatives to the kings and the two parties often came into conflict with one another during this period. The gra dual reduction in the number of representatives occurred over the years mainly because of the growth of the monarchy until, sometime in the thirteenth century, the number of representatives was below two hundred, the king held most of the power, and the go vernment and administration of the kingdom were firmly established. Due to his strength as a ruler, Olaf found greater success as a missionary king than his predecessors, Hakon the Good (ruled from 880 to 930) and Olaf Tryggvason. He modeled his rule largely after the continental model of kingship established by Charlemagne and Alfred the Great, both of who m were well known for their law making in their efforts to create a more unifo rm kingdom. 5 Furthermore, both were important in strengthening the power and role of Christianity in the monarchy in their respective kingdoms. Both Charlemagne and Olaf used large scale, forced conversions to aid in unifying their kingdom. When Olaf took over, the Norwegian monarchy was still largely based on the Germanic model from pagan times Olaf emulated the reigns of these foreign rulers to develop a Christian monarchy. Both before and during his reign Olaf interacted a great deal with England and G ermany. Though medieval authors of the sagas and chronicles disagree as to which side he fought for, Olaf was in England during a Danish raid and was converted 3 Ibid., 83. 4 Ibid., 85. 5 These are Charlemagne, king of the Franks from 768 to 814 and emperor of the Romans from 800 to 814, and Alfred the Great, king of Wessex from 871 to 899.

PAGE 20

15 during this period. 6 During his actual reign he continued interactions with both kingdoms throug h missionaries, which he obtained from both England and Germany, the latter namely through the Archbishopric of Hamburg Bremen. 7 His emulation of Charlemagne in particular is made evident by the name of his son, Magnus, who was specifically named in honor of the emperor. 8 modern Norway under his rule than any of his predecessors. As Snorri Sturluson, author of the Icelandic saga of the Norwegian kings the Heimskringla, r ecounts, Olaf worked his way northwards throughout much of his reign, bringing new minor kingdoms and chieftainships under his power as he went. Snorri describes this process in his work the Heimsrkingla relating how Olaf brought the Upland kings under hi s rule through a variety of tactics, until 9 This was a difficult process, particularly coupled with forced conversions, and many of the petty kings were reluctant to bow to dual conquering took up much of his reign, but by the end of it he controlled more of the area of modern day Norway than any king before him. 10 Olaf was also well known for his justice and lawmaking, both to his contemporaries and in later histories and sa describ es Olaf and his reign, as: Right were rich and poor to 6 Knut Helle, ed., Cambridge History of Scandinavia Vol ume I: Prehistory to 1520 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 193. 7 Adam of Bremen, History of the Archbishops of Hamburg Bremen, trans. Francis. J. Tschan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 94 5. 8 Lee M. Hollander, The Skalds (New York: Princeton University Press, 1947), 160. 9 Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, trans. Samuel Laing (Lexington: Forgotten Books, 2008), 247. 10 Helle, 194.

PAGE 21

16 Rally around the Olafs: Both kings did give their cattle and Crops the peace they needed: Uphold and heed the even Handed laws made by them. 11 This poem, written by a man who knew Olaf personally and closely, shows that justice and reign by his zeal and his sens 12 Theodoricus Monachus, a twelfth equity co mmitted to writing in the native language; and to this day these are upheld and 13 Despite their separation in time Theodoricus wrote over a century after Sigvat characterized by his administration of justice. Medieval authors also tell us that the Norwegian nobles did not react well to his legislation and the reaction resulted in his exile. These authors agree that his extreme and, more importantly equal, appli cation of justice was one of the primary motives for the nobles whose families he had punished. 14 These men are nobles, described earlier in the work by Adam, whom Ola f had forced to convert and obey his laws. Snorri, who probably was not Heimskringla more or less agrees with him, saying 11 Hollander, 170. 12 Adam of Bremen, 94. 13 Theodoricus Monachus, Historia de Antiquitate Regum Norwag iensium, trans. David and Ian McDougall (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1998), 21. 14 Adam of Bremen, 97.

PAGE 22

17 th e country too severe; and animosity rose to the highest when they lost relatives by the 15 Although this is only o ne of the reasons was both important enough to define his reign but also sufficiently different to end it. ugh his encouragement of new laws. His efforts t o establish a system of uniform laws, though often overshadowed by his conversion efforts and martyrdom, make him for Norway what Alfred and Charlemagne were for their respective kingdoms. Although some medie val works state that he produced written laws, no written laws survive from this time. However, his reputation, whether for written laws or merely uniform ones, demonstrates the importance of his role as legislator to his reign and to Norway. The movement towards uniform unifying Norway under one rule. For most of the Middle Ages the creation of Scandinavian laws and a great part of the dispensing of justice took place at the annual things 16 Before Olaf became king there w ere already two things established in Norway. These were the Frostathing located in Trondelaw, and the Gulathing located in southwestern Norway. Scholars estimate that these had existed at least since the reign of Hakon the Good and probably earlier. 17 Du ring his reign, Olaf was responsible for the establishment of a third, known as the Borgarthing which was located in southeastern Norway. These gatherings eventually developed into written codes and were mainly decided by the people with minimal influence from the king. By virtue of being 15 Sturluson, 378. 16 Sawyer and Sawyer, 83. 17 Laurence M. Larson, trans., The Earliest Norwegian Laws (New York: Columbia University Pres s, 1935), 7.

PAGE 23

18 written down, the law codes developed greater uniformity, an important effect since each one was developed in and applicable to a different region by different people. The king was by and large the only common factor. Wh ile the texts of the Gulathing and the Frostathing survive in their entirety as well as the portions related to the church in the Borgarthing the laws were constantly revised throughout the Middle Ages, making it difficult to date them. Although scholars believe that identify them. 18 Nevertheless, the fact that these survive and that the creation of one can be as a law maker. Furthermore, his reputation as a lawmaker lasted long after his death. Laws from the t hirteenth century reign of Hakon IV in the Gulathing and the Frostathing frequently refer to laws put down by Olaf. 19 The introduction to a set of laws p ut down by Hakon IV states that 20 In his role as law maker, Olaf was remembered long after his death. Whether this occurred because of or des pite his role as a saint is difficult to determine. Either way, this demonstrates that his reputation as a lawmaker persevered for a long time in Norway, to the extent that he became an important authority for later kings and later legislation. In additio n to his efforts to produce a uniform system of laws across the kingdom, Olaf followed in the footsteps of Charlemagne by creating greater political unity through mass conversions to the new religion of Christianity. As both Charlemagne and Olaf knew, it i s easier to rule a population with a uniform system of beliefs. Furthermore, unlike Norse 18 Larson, 26. 19 Hakon IV ruled from 1217 to 1263. 20 Larson, 213.

PAGE 24

19 paganism Christianity was useful in granting more power to a single figure. This is in contrast to the Germanic model which had dominated Norway to this point, which not only encouraged the formation of many petty kingdoms, but also placed the king as merely a highly ranked citizen instead of a divinely appointed figure. 21 During the period before Olaf came to power, Christianity and paganism existed alongside one anot her. This is made particularly evident by the effect that the two religions had on each other. Early converts to Christianity found it difficult to understand a monotheistic religion and frequently combined the two considering Jesus just another god in th eir pantheon. The adaptability of paganism to new beliefs is evident in other ways. For example, scholars now believe that the myths of Valhalla, the hall of the slain in Asgard, the realm of the gods, was likely strongly affected by and developed through pagan interactions with Christianity. 22 In addition to the effects that Chrisianity had on pagan beliefs, archaeological evidence has demonstrated that the two religions coexisted and affected one another. Pendants worn on necklaces were popular good luck c harms in Scandinavia, and Moulds have been found from the tenth century that have hammer and cross shaped cavities, demonstrating that craftsmen in one area catered to adherents of both religions. 23 Furthermore, as the two religions interacted more, their artwork merged more. For example, a slate cross fragment from the tenth century shows a Christian cross with the Norse god Odin and Jesus standing to either side. 24 For p ictures of this cross, now known as 21 Ibid, 20. 22 Kre Lunden, Formation and Change in Social Infrastructure in Norway c. AD 950 Scandinavian Journal of History vol. 22, no. 2, (1997), 3. 23 Else Roesdahl and David M Wilson, eds., From Viking to Crusader: The Scandinavians and Europe 800 1200 (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, inc., 1992), 191. 24 Thomas A. DuB ois, Nordic Religions in the Viking Age (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 148.

PAGE 25

20 slab and preserved at Kirk Andreas, see fig. 1 and fig.2 on pages 23 and 24. Both Hakon and Olaf Tryggvason permitted paganism to coexist alongside Christianity, though neither did so entirely willingly Hakon the Good, who was fostered and converted in England before taking the throne, attempted to spread Christianity in Norway. He was unsuccessful, largely because the nobles were opposed to the new religion. His position and the power of the monarchy i tself were not yet strong enough to push the matter, as the Olafs would later do. 25 Olaf Haraldsson was following a precedent established by Olaf Tryggvason when he used violent methods to force conversion on the people. The main difference between them was contests with the Danish to maintain his position. Olaf took power over a larger area and had a firmer grasp on his reign, and was thus able to concentrate his efforts on mass conversion to Christian ity. As stated, Olaf resorted to violent methods to ensure that the entire population converted to Christianity. The polytheistic nature of Norse paganism made it simple to begin conversion to Christianity, but difficult to complete. The tendency was to accept Christ as a powerful god, made evident by the riches and military success that he had brought to countries on the continent. However, the difficulty lay in convincing the population to accept Christ as the only God, which would mean full conversion from paganism. Olaf resorted to violent tactics to achieve this. Snorri describes these tactics in depth in the case of the Upland kings, describing 25 Helle, 189.

PAGE 26

21 26 Olaf used these methods to ensure conversion and to gain political followers. Moreover, he had the political power to d o so for most of his reign. Christianity was the only religion. A lthough some paganism remained, tactics like the ones described above, as well as the mere threat of them, guaranteed that Christianity would remain the dominant religion in Norway. Several sources demonstrate that his goal was to characteristics of his was a great zeal for God, so that he routed out the magicians from the in order that, with their scandals removed, the Christian religion might take firmer root in his 27 Theodor icus disposal to lead these people back to the right path and to show them the way of salvation, to establish churches in those places where there were none, and to endow those which were esta 28 zealousness as the sole cause for his conversion. After all, a saint should be guid ed by pure intentions. Although modern scholars concede that he probably was devout, they also argue that he was primarily motivated by political reasons. Christianity in the Middle Ages was strongly supportive of monarchy, setting up the king as a servant appointed by God rather than chosen by the people. 26 Sturluson, 246. 27 Adam of Bremen, 94. 28 Theodoricus, 21.

PAGE 27

22 reign considered the king to be a highly ranked citizen. This is important for understanding erstanding of kingship meant that the king could be deposed by the nobles if they disagreed with his decisions. However, it is the Christian model of kingship that would remain, since Olaf came to be considered a divinely appointed figure in the years foll owing his death. As will be demonstrated in the next chapter, later literature demonstrating the move from the Germanic model of kingship to the Christian one in the ye Christianization of Norway certainly affected the way the government was run. As seen with previous rulers like Charlemagne, the unification of a c ountry was best achieved through political and religious methods. The combination of politics with conversion resulted in the formation of a new type of monarchy. Olaf was distinct from his predecessors because of more than his martyrdom. He was the first Norwegian king to strongly combine the two areas. His combination of politics and religion is excellently demonstrated by the types of laws that he established. Typically, sources from all areas and periods characterize him by his sense of justice and his religious zeal at the same time. Frequently when his laws are described they are specifically referred to as Christian laws. The Agrp states that when Olaf 29 This is supported b y Adam of Bremen as well, who describes his justice and his desire to rid the 29 M.J. Driscoll, ed., grip af Nregskonungasgum (London: Viking Society for No rthern Research, 1995), 37.

PAGE 28

23 his reign to be closely related. 30 Theodoricus Monachus and Sigvat among others also a gree with the former two sources, demonstrating that this was a widespread depiction of Olaf. Unlike his predecessors, Olaf wrote specifically Christian laws. This demonstrates not only his ability to combine the two previously disparate areas, but also indicates that the demographic itself was changing in response to his actions. A society new to Christianity and an established church requires a new system of laws to cope with the changes. Olaf provided this. Olaf brought a large number of changes to t he Norwegian monarchy during his reign. The effects of this change became visible immediately, as made evident by the poetry of Sigvat. Sigvat is interesting as a skaldic poet not for his creativity, but rather because he is the first skaldic poet whose wo rks survive to entirely eliminate the usage of pagan kennings. 31 Pagan kennings and skaldic poetry, through its mythological associations, were initially considered inappropriate for a Christian society. Even Olaf was hesitant to have a poet in his retinue for this very reason. But Sigvat altered skaldic poetry by completely eliminating pagan associations in his own poems. He did this because he needed to make his poetry acceptable to a Christian king with a Christian retinue. Instead of using kennings based mythological roots was due to the Christianizing effect that Olaf had on his kingdom an d those who served him. Olaf permanently altered Norway through his development of a Christian monarchy. The unification of the kingdom through ruling a broader area, encouraging the spread of new laws, and forced mass conversions to Christianity resulte d in a movement towards a 30 Adam of Bremen, 94. 31 Hollander, 149.

PAGE 29

24 new kind of government. Although his techniques had been attempted by previous kings in Norway, he was the first to successfully combine the previously disparate areas and actively encourage the development of a monarchy based on the continental model established by Charlemagne.

PAGE 30

25 Fig ure 1 slab from Kirk Andreas. Christian figure, probably meant to be Christ.

PAGE 31

26 Fig ure 2 32 slab from Kirk Andreas. Pagan figure, probably Odin. 32 Pictures courtesy of http://www.iomguide.com/crosses/andreas/no128.php.

PAGE 32

27 Chapter Two Olaf as King and Saint in Olafs saga Helga and Passio et Miracula Beati Olavi combined roles as lawmaker and missionary king are essential in understanding his efforts to change Norway during his reign. Olaf wa s the first Norwegian king to make a strong effort towards the creation of a Christian form of government, with specifically Christian laws and a monarchy similar to continental models. The influence that these characteristics had on both his reign and his reputation is revealed by the way that medieval authors describe him and his reign. Although various authors wrote about him for different purposes, the fact that Olaf is regularly characterized by these two traits further demonstrates their importance to his reign. As the first Scandinavian saint, Olaf became an enormously popular subject of Scandinavian literature after his death. Although a huge number of works about him were written, many of which have complex relation ship s with one another this cha pter will only consider e first is a liturgical work, the Passio et Miracula Beati Olavi and the other is the Olafs saga helga saga writing, the Heimskringla 1 Reflective of their distinct backgrounds and purposes, the two texts produce different depictions of Olaf in the details of his life and martyrdom. However, despite these differences they nevertheless arrive at the same conclusions about Olaf as a leader and as a saint. Whatever their differences in detail, the overall depiction of Olaf in both of these works describes him as a remarkably just and strict ruler leading to his rejection by his subjects, his extreme piety, and the dominant focus on healing miracles as evide nce of his sanctity. 1 Henceforward these will be referred to as Passio and Olafs respectively.

PAGE 33

28 Coming from distinct genres, the backgrounds of these two texts reveal a great deal not just about their relationship with the greater body of Scandinavian literature, but also the purposes and priorities of each. The Passio comes fr om a long line of ecclesiastic works, for instructional purposes within the church and therefore is meant to inspire veneration of the saint. The structure of the work also reflects this. Scholars tend to divide the work into tales, and the fourth is a group of miracles witnessed by Eysteinn himself, who will be dis cussed further below. The first two parts are, for the most part, the text of the shorter version. The fact that the main portion of the work is devoted to detailing miracles performed by Olaf after his death reveals that the intention of the work was to i nspire the eternal as it is manifested in history, the nature of God and of salvation as both are 2 The Olafs in contrast, is a strongly historical work. It is divided into 265 chapters in an interlaced structure that deals with a large variety of subjects both political and religious. As a whole the work steers away from descriptions of Olaf as saint and focuses on him as a ruler. It does include a number of miracle stories, but these are not the dominant focus of the work. The Olafs instead builds a complex picture of Olaf as king, viking, missionary, and man. The different genres of the two dictate their purpose s. The Olafs represents the culmination of saga writing, a specific subset of Icelandic saga writing that focuses on the lives of foreign kings. The Olafs is therefore a historically driven work. The Passio on the 2 Carl Phelpstead, ed, A History of Nor way and the Passion and Miracles of the Blessed "lfr trans. Devra Kunin (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2001), xlii.

PAGE 34

29 other hand, was written to educate monks before the feast day of St. Olaf. 3 Therefore the two works are of different natures and the authors had similarly different intentions in writing them. The Olafs Heimskringla and takes up near ly a third of the work. Besides being one of the longest sagas ever written about Olaf, it is also considered by most scholars as the best work of its genre. The Passio is also highly valuable as a different kind of source, largely because it is one of the earliest and only works of its kind to survive. There are several difficulties with understanding the background of the Passio. The first issue is that there are two versions of this text, one longer and one shorter. The shorter one is generally referred to as the Acta sancti Olavi regis et martyris and the longer is the Passio used here. The general consensus among scholars today is that the Passio is an expanded version of the Acta 4 The question of authorship also raises several problems. Scholars are fairly certain that at least the last portion, which is made up of miracles said to be directly observed by Bishop Eysteinn, both refers to and was written by Eystein Erlendsson, the archbishop of Nidaross from 1161 to 1188. The extent to which he wrote t he rest of the text is greatly debated, but regardless the text was evidently written over a large period of time. 5 Currently, scholars date the composition of the work from about 1160 to 1180. The Passio is also difficult to understand because many of it s sources are no longer extant. Carl Phelpstead gives a thorough explanation of these sources in his introduction to the Passio Sources for the Passio probably include skaldic poetry, which demonstrated veneration of Olaf from as early as 1032, collection s of miracle tales compiled at his shrine, and other lost miracle 3 Ibid., xxvii. 4 Ibid., xxix. 5 See Phelpstead xxxv xxxix.

PAGE 35

30 collections similar to this one. 6 All told, the Passio has a complex background that, although full of uncertainties, reflects the essentially ecclesiastic nature of the work. The Olafs, on the other hand, has an enormous number of possible sources that are extant. Furthermore, scholars are almost unanimous in naming Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic chieftain famous for many other masterpieces of Icelandic literature, as the author for this work, although what manner of authorship is still under debate. The text is dateable to about 1230 with relative certainty due to the large number of textual relations with prior works. The question of sources for the Heimskringla as a whole, not just the Olafs is one that scholars are still debating today. The writing of sagas began around 1130 with two works that are no longer extant by Ari orgilsson and Saemundr Sigfusson. These are considered to be sources for nearly all of the sagas tha t came later. Notable texts Historia de Antiquitate Regum Norwagiensium (circa 1180) the Historia Norwegiae (from anywhere between 1178 and 1220) the grip (circa 1190) the Morkinskinna (circa 1220) and Fagrskinna (circa 1 225) respectively. Each of these has, at one time or another, been named as a source for the Heimskringla Theodore M. Andersson has constructed two different figures of the relationships among the sagas according to scholars Bjarni Aalbjarnarson a nd Svend Ellehj 7 For a clearer understanding of these relationships, see Appendix 3 figures 4 and 5, on pages 62 and 63. Although these scholars differ drastically in their mapping of relationships between various texts, it demonstrates the complex back ground that the Heimskringla and to a more specific extent the Olafs draws on. When considering such distinct works side by side, the similarities and differences between the two texts become important to understanding consideration of Olaf in the 6 Ibid., xxxii. 7 Carol J. Clover and John Lindow, Old Norse Icelandic Literature: A Critical Guide (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 204 5.

PAGE 36

31 centuri es following his death. The examination of t hese similarities and differences will focus on their treatments of his conversion and governance of Norway, of his exile to Russia, his death at the battle of Stiklestad, and of his martyrdom and the miracles th at proved his sanctity. Although there are many differences in the general treatment of Olaf and in specific passages, overall the works arrive at the same overall depiction of him as a just ruler, an extremely pious man, and a healing saint. The subjects of most importance are the treatment miracles associated with it. Descriptions of the conversion and governance of Norway by Olaf are the dominant focus of the Ol afs but only a minor focus in the Passio Nevertheless, both the Olafs and the Passio understandings of Olaf, but also of the way that the works used available information for t of these two works which deals more than any other with the secular aspects of Olaf as ruler, the differences between the Olafs and the Passio are most apparent. Mo re so than with any other subject area, the Olafs including his conversion of Norway, while the Passio goes to the other extreme to make Olaf into the most divine ruler possible, to the exte nt that it directly opposes information that most historians take to be true, in order to create an entirely different depiction of Olaf as king and converter. Norway. One of the difficulties faced by both the Olafs and the Passio is the weakness of Passio Olafs uses a supposed relation to Harald Fairhair, but not on its own. To bolster an d

PAGE 37

32 Olafs and the Passio attempt to find other justifications for his rule that reflect the overall purpose of each work. Beyond saying that his father was Harald Grenske, who died when Olaf was young, that his stepfather, who raised him, was Sigurd Syr, and that his foster father was Hrane the Far travelled, Snorri in the Olafs 8 H is father Harald Grenske is discussed in several chapters in a and is said to be the king in Vestfold, Vingulmark, and Agder areas which, moreover, were said to be restored to him by the Danish king Harald Gormsson as a restoration of the ancestral lands 9 ck on Earl Hakon, who was one become king, and even then it is not clear. Instead, the first justification of this comes later when Olaf has returned home and discus se s his plans with his stepfather Sigurd. as foreign and cruel overlords. From the first declaration regarding his intentions he begins ners are now sitting in the possessions which my father, his father, and their forefathers for a long series of generations owned, and to which I have udal 10 From this point on Olaf goes on to describe to his stepfather his intent to claim Norway fr om the Danish, quite explicitly by means of battle and bloodshed. Although his ancestral right to rule comes up repeatedly, the rhetoric and language of his speech is entirely based on the characterization of the Danish as cruel foreigners. He declares tha 8 the blood relation, his stepfather because he was responsible for Olaf and married to his mother, making him a family member. Foster fathers held an important place in Scandinavian society. They would raise the child of a friend or relative, often on their own estate, though this is not the case here, and provided much of the instruction for the child to become a successful warrior. Foster families were often as important as blood family members. 9 Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, trans. Samuel Laing (Lexington: Forgotten Books, 2008), 118. 10 Ibid., 211; Ud al refers to a kind of land law that existed, and still exists, in Scandinavian society.

PAGE 38

33 all this kingdom under my rule which they got into their hands by the slaughter of my 11 The language and rhetoric repeatedly asse rts his right to rule the current rulers. In addition to strengthening his claims beyond the rather weak hereditary ones, work. There is no mention of God in the entire speech, despite the fact that Olaf had been converted to Christianity by this point. The reason for the seizure and the way that it will be carried out are other secular figures, not as an eventual saint. As Sverre Bagge argues in his book Society and al game like everyone else, and Snorri rarely expects the other actors to take into consideration his 12 by and large historically driven, and it looks for secular rea sons to justify the events of the saga rather than religious ones. This theme continues until the very end of the Olafs when This focus on secular matters is hardly pres ent in the Passio which relies entirely on religious. In fact, the w ork makes an active effort to avoid any talk of Olaf seizing the 11 Ibid., 211. 12 Sverre Bagge, Society and Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 135.

PAGE 39

34 sainthood, but could also diminish him to a more human level by emphasizing the physical and political a spects of his reign over the spiritual ones. Instead, the text begins with him as king. Although it does talk about his conversion which happened while he was outside Norway and before his rule, the text makes it appear as though he was always meant to be king. There is no mention of predecessors, whether Danish or related. The part of its explanation concerning his converting efforts is the closest the text comes to justifying his le he was 13 rule rather than on any more earthly justifications. Since this is an ecclesiastical work, the Passio e of Norway and as his motivation for actions during his reign. The extreme differences of approach between the Olafs and the Passio are visible Olafs focuses heavily on the secular a reactions of local petty rulers, while the Passio makes Olaf into a more ecclesiastically acceptable missionary. It is on this topic that the two works differ most from one another and where their tendencies towards secularly or ecclesiastically motivated explanations become the most apparent. Although t he Olafs does his efforts towards c onversion, it is sufficiently long to include several chapters devoted to description of the conversion. Although there are numerous points where the conversion exampl 13 Phelpstead, 27.

PAGE 40

35 improvement was needful he taught them the right customs. If any there were who would not renounce heathen ways, he took the m atter so zealously that he drove some out of the country, mutilated others of hands or feet, or stung their eyes out; hung up some, cut down some with the sword; but let none go unpunished who would not serve God. 14 Whether or not this can be taken as accu rate, this passage clearly demonstrates that Snorri method of conver ting to be a gentle one. Furthermore, although he was in his work, his methods were certainly not particularly Christ like. The Olafs is more or less a hi storical work, and it therefore creates a secularized version of Olaf. Furthermore, although the sections on the conversion are important in their own right since Olafs d epiction of the conversion also focuses on its importance as an aspect of the political situation during his reign that contributed to the dissatisfaction with Olaf. Therefore, even when describing one of the most important religious aspects of his reign, the Olafs continues to use secular imagery and find political explanations for them. Once again, the Passio takes this to the other extreme. Although historians agree that the Olafs Norway, the Passio Olafs depiction, the Passio further furnished to all an example of great humility 15 The Passio focuses on 14 Stu rluson, 243. 15 Phelstead, 29.

PAGE 41

36 hagiographic tropes rather than what probably happened. In contrast to the Olafs the Passio description of Olaf is closer to t hat of a wandering missionary than it is to the brutally people far an 16 Although this may not be historically accurate, its intention is to inspire veneration of Olaf by using the same description for him as for a number of other holy missionaries. It was a familiar type of language for the audience of the Passio tha t immediately connected Olaf with a familiar religious tradition. more similar in their depiction of events and motivations, although many differences do still remain. This is a particularly interesting section in both works because neither can avoid the aspects of his reign that they had hitherto not dealt with, whether the religious for the Olafs or the secular for the Passio In fact, it is only when discussion of the end of his reign begins that both works finally begin to agree. For example, both texts place a large part of the figures. This combination and contrast of the motiva tions of the two works becomes particularly apparent with their other explanations of the revolt against Olaf and his expulsion by his subjects. Both works agree that a large part of the opposition against Olaf grew from dissatisfaction with his extremely strict and just rule. The Olafs punished great and small with equal severity, which appeared to the chief people of the 17 The Passio does not state it as directly, but still says that in return for his laws and other jus 16 Ibid., 27. 17 Sturluson, 378.

PAGE 42

37 18 Although the Passio depicts his laws as being motivated by his piety, both texts reach the conclusion that at least som e portion of the opposition to him was motivated by his lawmaking. that reflect their overall purpose. According to the Passio although some opposed Olaf because of his lawmaking, the primary source of opposition came from pagans who hated willfulness than piety, more by custom than reason, more by rash fury of spirit than by love of 19 His opponents were not only opposed to the religion, but they were opposed to it out of stubbornness, since the text insists that anyone else could not have helped being converted by his pious words and deeds. The Passio claims that it was largel y for this reason, more than the secular causes, that Olaf was exiled to Russia. The Olafs, on the other hand, focuses on a variety of political causes for his exile. His lawmaking, which both texts agree was one of the primary motivating factors for his 20 Additional causes listed in the Olafs are the br ibery of the chiefs by Knut, the Olafs agrees on a basic level with the Pas sio the explanation once again centers on political reasons rather than religious ones, especially 18 Phelpstead, 29. 19 Ibid., 27. 20 Sturluson, 378.

PAGE 43

38 conventions of saga writing drive Snorri to continue to justify events in the saga with The accounts of the battle of Stiklestad by the two works once again focus on different explana Passio Passio is his death. For this work, the battle at Stiklestad represents the culmination of his life, rather than to fall by the spears of the wicked. He died in defense of the faith, cruelly cut off by the 21 The focus here is entirely on the religious aspects of the battle. In fact, the Passio reveals hardly any information about the battle itself beyond stating that Olaf had little time to prepare for it. The Olafs, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. Snorri spends several dozen chapters explaining the details of the battle, particularly the events preceding it, before Olaf s death, but even here the glory of his martyrdom is subsumed by the account of his physical death. Here Snorri tells in great detail who delivered which blow and with which weapon, even accounting for the Thorer Hund struck at him [Olaf] with his spear, and the stroke went in under his mail coat 22 This is just one sentence in a large paragraph describing every aspect of ion here is that Olaf dies as a king, not as a saint. The chapters building up to the battle are almost entirely about the various figures he was in 21 Phelpstead, 31. 22 Sturluson, 409.

PAGE 44

39 actually mentione d for another several chapters, when he begins performing miracles. The Olafs is more concerned with political interactions than with the transition into sainthood. it, th e two texts begin to show several interesting points of agreement while still diverging on others. The differences are, once again, largely due to the distinct genres of the two works. The Olafs le as a saint. The Passio a result, while the Olafs Passio is mostly made up of miracle stories in suppo rt of his sanctity. Despite these disagreements, the their subject, remain more noticeable and important. There are two miracle accounts common to both texts tha t are of particular interest in revealing the common ground in literary understanding of Olaf. The first of these is the miracle of the wood shavings. Both the Olafs and the Passio tell a story about Olaf shaving wood into a stake on a Sunday, which, bein g a form of labor, would violate the day of rest In both accounts a servant alerts Olaf to his error by saying, 23 Olaf then takes the shavings in his hand and burns them. It is at this point that the accounts differ, once again m irroring the relative purposes of the works. The Olafs Passio focuses on this passage as evidence for his sanctity. In the Olafs the king burns the shavings in his hand, thus injuring himself a nd 24 represents and strengthens his role as a just and pious king, as he would not let even a minor 23 Phelpstead, 40, and Sturluson, 385. 24 Sturluson, 385.

PAGE 45

40 offence that he himself committed go unpunished. The Passio instead tel 25 Here the story is a miracle, and therefore evidence for The different accounts of this miracle relate to the purposes of the two works. The Olafs obedience to the law was so great that he injured himself on ly serves to strengthen his position within the saga. Furthermore, the Olafs tends to steer away from accounts of even occur in the Olafs but rather in later s agas. In this saga, Snorri is more interested in Passio for the saint. As a miracle, rather than just a story about his piety, this passage serves to inspire admiration for Olaf as holy even before his death at Stikelstad. The text strives to describe Olaf as holy throughout his life, in order to demonstrate the near inevitabil ity of his martyrdom once he converts and his continued holiness throughout his life and afterlife. Despite the differences in the telling of the above miracle, both works agree almost entirely on another. Since the Olafs did not likely use the Passio as a source, it is probable that this miracle was in common circulation and therefore predates both texts. Both relate that after Olaf was killed in battle, his body was taken and cleaned by his followers. The bloodied water was thrown out and a blind man, a fter stumbling, touched the water and then his eyes, and thus had his sight restored. The two works differ in the details, for example whether the blind man tripped while passing by or stumbled while looking for a place to sleep, but the 25 Phelpstead, 40.

PAGE 46

41 both agree on the general outline of the miracle. This is not the only similarity between the two works in their treatments of Olaf as saint, since they also both agree that most of his miracles were healing ones, like the one just described. Furthermore, this demonstrates the Therefore, although the Olafs and the Passio differ from one another in several ways, the overall depiction of Olaf is consistent between the two. The differen ces are largely due to the natures of the works and the generic conventions that accompany them. The Olafs is a saga and was written by figure driven by political motivations in defining events. Snorri was an Icelandic chieftain and a critical histo rian. Therefore, the information included sanctity elevated h im above all other Norwegian kings, but the Olafs depicts him as more than a religious figure, rather a full bodied and believable character. The Passio was written by an ecclesiastical figure with an ecclesiastical audience in mind. It was also meant to i nspire veneration of the saint, so it centered on his holiness rather than his kingship and made a strong effort to separate him from more worldly concerns and characteristics. The generic conventions of the Olafs and the Passio result in different interpr etations of events by each in order to stay true to the spirit of their writing. D espite their differences, both works arrive at the same overall conclusion about Olaf, indicating a stable characterization of Olaf beyond the purposes of the individual wor ks. Both the Olafs and the Passio arrive at the conclusion that Olaf was a just and strict ruler, much to the dissatisfaction of some of his subjects, that he was extremely pious, and that his miracles were usually healing ones. The purposes and genres of the works dictate

PAGE 47

42 certain differences which are significant in their details but nevertheless produce the same end result in both works.

PAGE 48

43 Chapter Three Olaf, Rex Perpetuus Norwegiae The Anglo Saxon Chronicle succinctly summarizes the complex events of 1030 in 1 Following his exile by Knut to Russia, Olaf made a bid to regain the kings hip and was slain in battle by an army of Norwegians. Curiously, a year later he was made a saint, and many of death accomplished what he had spent his life tryi ng to do: the full and lasting conversion of Norway to Christianity and the growth both of royal power and governmental stability. The events of the battle of Stiklestad, where he died, and the tumult immediately following his death subsided quickly with O the thrones of Norway and later Denmark. Olaf became known as the Rex Perpetuus Norwegiae and Norway enjoyed a long period of peace, independence and unity under a strong Christian monarchy. As m any medieval histories demonstrate, the very aspects of his rule that most characterized his reign and made him successful as a saint were the same aspects that led directly to his demise, namely his Christianization of Norway and creation of laws. Both Ad am of Bremen and Snorri Sturluson attribute his expulsion from Norway by his own King Olaf was driven from the throne of Norway by a rebellion of the nobles whose wives 2 Adam specifically attributes his exile to dissatisfaction with his harsh conversion methods, making both his exile and his later death exclusively 1 Dorothy Whitelock, The Anglo Saxon Chronicle (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1961), 101. 2 Adam of Bremen, History of the Archbishops of Hamburg Bremen, trans. Francis J. Tschan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 96.

PAGE 49

44 religious. This is to be expected from a source as early as Adam, in whose lifetime reports of 3 Nevertheless, many medieval and nearly all modern historians agree that there were other, secular motivations as well. Snorri states f the great men of the country to King Olaf, that they could not bear his just judgments. He again would rather renounce his dignity than omit 4 Norwegians, but rath er states that it came from dissatisfaction with the equal dispensation of justice that Olaf established in the country. Snorri wrote his account of events long after s in the sagas that constitute the Heimskringla His distance from the events he wrote about and whose proximity to events practically guaranteed his inclusion of r eligious explanations over exile. Knut in Norway. Before Olaf took power No rway had been ruled by Earls Hakon Eriksson historians that Olaf originally held Norway under Knut, as the aforementioned kings did ated relationship with England to gain independence. 5 Contemporary sources do not support this, but this may be due to reverence that was afforded to him as a saint and a hesitancy to suggest treachery on his part. In fact, 3 It is interesting to note that Adam of t he actually got it right. 4 Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla trans. Samuel Laing (Lexington: Forgotten Books, 2008), 378. 5 Knut Helle, ed., Cambridge History of Scandinavia Volume I: Prehistory to 1520 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 193.

PAGE 50

45 contemporary sources like Theodo ricus Monachus and the author of Agrip make an active effort to vilify Knut and his followers and to exonerate and praise Olaf throughout. However, even authors that did not wish to vilify Knut or praise Olaf relate that Knut bribed the nobles against Ol af. Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish author who wrote the extremely nationalistic twelfth century history Gesta Danorum 6 Although he uses this to illustrate t manipulation, this passage nevertheless corroborates the accounts of Norwegian authors. By the end of his reign Knut was actively trying to take over Norway from Olaf. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle si with fifty ships, and drove King Olaf from the land, and made good his claim to all that 7 Many other historians go further, stating that Knut accomplished this through bribery of the pow presents and favor on account of king Knut. Many allowed themselves to be seduced, and gave prom 8 Theodoricus c hieftains of Norway against the king, and to bribe them in secret. Among these were 9 The latter 6 Saxo Grammaticus, Danorum Regum Heroumque Historia X XVI trans. Eric Christiansen (Oxford: B.A.R., 1980), 34. 7 Whitelock, 100 1. 8 Sturluson, 166. 9 Theodoricus Monachus, Historia de Antiquitate Regum Norwagiensium, trans. David & Ian McDougall (London : Viking Society for Northern Research, 1998), 16.

PAGE 51

46 and, furthermore, that Knut was motivated primarily by greed for what was not his, stating this was why Knut bribed the Norwegians: who hungered after the possessions of others, called to mind that his fa ther Sveinn had 10 This effort by Theodoricus and the Agrip as well, to vilify Knut and praise Olaf for the events of the exile goes so far as to make it seem that Olaf was not exi led at all, but rather deemed it best to leave Norway for a while. The sources never directly state that he was explicitly forced or even officially exiled from the country. Theodoricus states that abandoned his ships and withdrew to the court of his father in law, King Olaf of Sweden. From there he travelled to Russia, to Theodoricus 11 This nuanced use of language also occurs in the Agrip, thereafter he le 12 The Heimskringla s kingdoms vanish; and there 13 As easy it is for a later source to put such words into withdrawal from Norway. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Trans. M.J. Driscoll, Agrip af Noregskonungasogum (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1995), 39. 13 Sturluson, 376.

PAGE 52

47 No matter whether co nversion or legislation, and began to support Knut instead, several sources relate specific cases where the loss of support cost Olaf his reign. A popular story that illustrates this well is the account of the death of a chieftain named Erling. Erling was supposed to be supportive of Olaf but had been bribed into revolt against him by Knut. Just before his exile Olaf fought with Erling and won, leaving Erling to his mercy. The Agrip king protected him when others attacked him. But a man na 14 The Heimskringla also relates this story, using almost exactly the same death. 15 Both state that through one chieftain to maintain his reign d emonstrates the volatility of the politics that resulted in his exile. in law, King Jaroslav, in Kievan Rus. As with descriptions of his exile, this period is likely misrepresented by the sources to vilify Knut and his followers and to praise Olaf, making the saint seem even more holy in comparison. Several medieval accounts characterize this period in Norway as one of dissatisfaction under Danish rule. The Agrip ginning such high regard for Danish men that the testimony of one of them would overturn that of ten 14 Driscoll, 39. 15 Sturluson, 180.

PAGE 53

48 16 Theodoric us Monachus also describes unhappiness with Knut himself. Shortly after an apostrophe on the nature of greed who, although he possessed two kingdoms, still strove to wrest yet a third from the most just 17 However, it seems to be a strong possibility that the sources conflated dissatisfaction with Danish rule in the Norwegians still killed Olaf as soon as he came back. Hakon died at sea, and the resulting power vacuum prompted Olaf to return and attempt to regain his kingdom. Medieval accounts once again use this as an opportunity to exonerate and praise Olaf. By demonstrating his sanctity during his life all the way to the moment of his death the sources create a stronger case for his sanctity beyond the miracle stories. Both Snorri and Theodoricus describe how Olaf was consistent in his manner of life and rule throughout the period of his exile and his return. The Heimskringla during 18 r elated by Theodoricus baptism and they refused to take on the yoke of our Lord, "lfr said that he had no need of heathens and godless men, especially when fighting against Christians, and that for him any 16 Driscoll, 43. 17 Theodori cus, 25. 18 Sturluson., 377.

PAGE 54

49 19 Theodoricus uses this story about Snorri adds to this, saying that he not only continued to be de vout when he returned, but even considered his return as a mandate to continue his conversion efforts, a statement which was also made by Adam of Bremen. He relates a story about how Olaf only accepted the aid of a group of forest were baptized by a priest, and the baptism was confirmed by the bishop. The king then took them into the troop of his court 20 The stories related above as well as others in medieval account s begin to create a Rex Perpetuus Norwegiae. Before the battle of Stiklestad, Olaf had a dream in which Olaf Tryggvason God will give open testimony that the kingd 21 The histories relate The culmination of many is martyrdom, and Olaf is no different, especially since his death at the battle of Stiklestad provided medieval historians with many the sources in the period directly before the battle of Stikle stad. Both Adam and Snorri recount a dream that Olaf had the night before the battle, in which a ladder leading into the 19 Theodoricus, 18. 20 Sturluson, 391. 21 Ibid., 384.

PAGE 55

50 sky appeared to him. Adam describes how, upon being awakened by a follower named Fin, saw myself going up a stair the top of which touched the stars. Alas, I had reached the top of this stair and heaven was open for 22 In addition to this description, Snorri adds that Fin then repl good as it does to you. I think it means that you are fey; unless it is mere want of sleep that 23 In both cases, the story about this dream creates a feeling of predestination as Olaf dra ws nearer to his death. meant to produce veneration. Theodoricus ibuted out of the royal treasury for 24 This story, although contrary to historical evidence from other sources, is meant to produce admiration for the saint and give proof of his sanc tity in the actions before his martyrdom. This veneration of the saint becomes more frequent and poignant in descriptions of the battle. Accounts of the battle of Stiklestad are extremely detailed and popular in the writings of medieval historians, parti cularly accounts of the martyrdom itself. Unsurprisingly, even the most secular minded sources, such as Snorri, participate in religious veneration of the saint while describing his final day. Snorri devotes over a dozen chapters to descriptions of the bat tle itself. As a saga writer and a secular historian, Snorri devotes most of his writing to descriptions of the martial prowess of his heroes, and this is no less the case with ishes Olaf in two 22 Adam of Bremen, 96. 23 Sturluson, 399. 24 Theodoricus, 30.

PAGE 56

51 each of the three mortal wounds that he sustained before he died and how he fought beforehand. This section goes into great detail, saying wh o delivered which blow and where. Snorri also honors Olaf by touching on religious subjects, something that he avoids almost entirely with all the other kings in his work. First he describes how, after suffering his first wound at the axe of Thorstein Knar 25 This may not seem particularly like is found in more religiously minded works than his. Furthermore, within the span of two chapters he begins to relate miracle stories, which are extremely religious segments in a work devoted to the feats and activities of the physical world. Other historians are more open in their v eneration of the saint. Adam of Bremen, but certain others that he was pub licly exposed in the midst of the people for derision by the sorcerers. There are others who assert he was secretly murdered for the favor of King 26 Later, presumably after getting more accurate reports, Adam added a note saying had had this vision [see Sturluson above] he was surrounded by his own 27 This not only confirms for his readers that Olaf died in battle, but it also inspires veneration for the saint and relates what would later be stock stories about the martyrdom. The latter point 25 Sturluson, 409. 26 Adam of Bremen, 97. 27 Ibid., 96.

PAGE 57

52 is especially interesting since it demonstrates the spread of these stock stories although Theodo ricus Theodor icus 28 According to many medieval historians, matters quickly went from bad to worse for indeed, he [Knut] had three sons, he placed one over each of his kingdoms. At one time he himself visited the Danes, at another the Norwegians; most of the time, however, he stayed 29 Since Adam was from Germany, rather than a Scandinavian country, he was not as biased towards or against Norway as many other historians writi ng about this period in Scandinavia were. Snorri, agreeing with the author of the Agrip states that the people of Norway were over them. He relates that some 30 This state of affairs made it 28 Theodoricus, 30. 29 Adam of Bremen, 100. 30 Sturluson, 418.

PAGE 58

53 Olaf was made a saint and became popular remarkably quickly, both within a year of his death. Almost immediately stories of his miracles and holiness began to spread not only among his supporters, but also a mong those who had previously opposed him. Theodoricus merits of his martyr "lfr, by restoring sight to the blind and bestowing manifold comforts 31 Afte r his death, Olaf became well known for healing miracles, a common trait of royal saints. Snorri relates several such stories about miracles performed shortly after bloo d in it and another about the healing of Thorer Hund, an enemy who delivered one of and 32 The combination of chaos and dissatisfaction in Norway foll being quickly acknowledged as a saint by people of all social states. Olaf was popularly acknowledged as a saint almost immediately after his death, but was also un officially canonized by Bishop Grimkell a year later. 33 Theodoricus borates this account, adding that those who had 31 The odoricus, 32 3. 32 Sturluson, 410. 33 Margaret Clunies Ross, A History of Old Norse Poetry and Poetics (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2005), 117. Olaf was not officially canonized until 1888, but was both popularly acclaimed as a saint by the people of Norway and proclaimed as one by Grmkell.

PAGE 59

54 much to his journey that [i.e. he was more willing to go] because the bishop considered it as 34 However, the best example of how quickly he was made a saint comes from two sources either contemporary or near contemporary. The former is Sigvat, the skaldic poet associated with both Olaf and with his son Magnus, who wrote about Olaf as a saint in a 35 This is particularly powerful evidence for how rapidly Olaf gained popular a cclimation as and became a saint and the sincerity of belief in him, since Sigvat had known Olaf personally and wrote the poem for Magnus. The earliest poems about his sainthood were the Glaelognskvia, written in 1032, and the Erfidrpa written in 1040. 36 The latter poem even discusses the feast of Saint Olaf, showing how rapidly he became acknowledged as a saint. 37 Being a royal saint and the first local saint in Scandinavia, Olaf quickly became the most important saint in Scandinavia as well. All of thes to the fanciful genealogies of the sagas, and Magnus was still a minor at the time of h is succeeded Olaf. Theodoricus rwegians, moved by belated repentance of the crime which they had committed against the blessed Olaf, and at 34 Ibid., 420. 35 Lee M. Hollander, The Skalds (New York: Princeton University Press, 1947), 173. 36 Ed. Nora Berend, 1200 (Cambri dge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 137. 37 Ibid, 159.

PAGE 60

55 seeking at least to restore to the son what 38 bestowed their devotion on the father, they a 39 Saxo, always eager to insult the Norwegians, nevertheless demonstrates the power and influence ventually came to rule Denmark as well. Adam states that he won Denmark through battle, saying that 40 Thi s is not confirmed by other medieval historians, who say that Magnus got Denmark because of a peace agreement with Harthacnut. Theodoricus says that, because the kings were young and also wanted to d into a pact in which the following condition was stipulated: that whichever of the kings should first depart from this world without an obvious heir (that is, a child of his own body) the one remaining should gain 41 Harthacnut died in 1042 without an obvious heir and Magnus became king in Denmark as well as in Norway. Saxo, extremely upset by this kingdom to which he had no right 38 Theodoricus, 33. 39 Saxo, 46. 40 Adam of Bremen, 108. 41 Theodoricus, 34 5.

PAGE 61

56 42 He reigned successfully in Denmark, though his half uncle and successor Harald H 43 came [in Denmark] the people received him joyfully, and obeyed him willingly. 44 Even Saxo agrees, though he is, as always, eager to insult Magnus and considered his death to be a gift from God to the misfortunate Svein, son of Knut. 45 Magnus reigned successfully and was well loved by his subje cts in both countries. Much of this goodwill for him came from the reputation of his father. Magnus was position was constantly defined by his father, with his torians almost always referring to him as the son of the blessed Olaf. In addition to healing miracles, medieval accounts frequently relate stories where Olaf appears to his successors in order to guide them. These stories are reign. The Agrip [Olaf] appeared to him in a dream and told him not to fear and told him that he would gain 46 Snorri recounts the same story, adding that during 47 In both versions of the story Olaf is credited for encouraging Magnus and his men to victory. 42 Saxo, 48. 43 Adam of Bremen, 109. 44 Sturluson, 445. 45 Saxo, 49. 46 Driscoll, 51. 47 Sturluson, 448.

PAGE 62

57 Magnus used his father to support his reign in more direct ways as well. For example, demonstrating the perceived continuity fro m father to son. Furthermore, Magnus was careful to cultivate the cult of Saint Olaf. Not only did the fame of a local saint strengthen the Danish kings. 48 Snorri s 49 No matter how strongly influenced he was b y devotion to his father, a large motivation for such actions was the Magnus was not the last king to use Olaf to strengthen his position. Part of the motivation behind using Olaf was that Olaf was the first to rule all of modern day Norway, something which his successors were eager to do and successful in accomplishing themselves. 50 bro ther, Harald Hardruler, also used Olaf both to define his position as co ruler and later independent king and to strengthen it. As with Magnus before him, stories are told of Harald being miraculously saved by Olaf. Snorri relates that, as a saint, Olaf as Scandinavia. Many medieval accounts also defined Harald by his blood relation to Olaf. In Heimskringla Snorri describes how one follower compared the two 48 Berend, 137 8. 49 Sturl uson, 436. 50 Berend, 141.

PAGE 63

58 of living; they were of great experience, and very laborious, and were known and celebrated 51 As discussed in the first chapter, Hakon IV (ruled Norway from 1217 to 1263) also used Olaf as a source of authority when the former introduced new laws at the Frostathing 52 As a saint known for his legislation in life Olaf was an ideal reference and model for law making. In fact, Olaf developed into the ideal model of kingship in general for Scandinavia. 53 Rex Perpetuus Saints were important for the people because, having been mortal, they were considered im portant intercessors with God. Olaf, who was not only the first Scandinavian saint but also a former king, quickly became the most important saint for all of Scandinavia, especially Norway. city [Trondhjem] reposes the body of the most blessed Olaf, king and martyr. At this tomb the Lord to this very day works such very great miraculous cures that those who do not despair of being able to get help through the merits of the saint flock togethe r there from far 54 eventually became a pilgrimage site. In fact, as Snorri attests, Olaf became so popular that his shrines were found as far away as Greece and Constantinople. 55 Rex Perpetuus Nor wegiae seriously. In later centuries there were generally considered to be two kings in Norway, the earthly one and the heavenly one, i.e. Olaf. According to a charter of Magnus Erlingsson, king of Norway from 1161 to 1184, coronation the Norse crown would be ritually sacrificed to Olaf and the king was considered his vassal on earth. 56 The Anglo Saxon Chronicle also discusses the 51 Sturluson, 533. 52 Trans. Laurence M. Larson, The Earliest Norwegian Laws (New York: Columbia University Press, 1935), 213. 53 Berend, 146. 54 Adam of Bremen, 213 4. 55 Sturluson, 471. 56 Berend, 148.

PAGE 64

59 importance of Olaf as an intercessor to the Norwegians and his perceived closeness to God, describing in 1055 upon th 57 Perhaps most importantly, Olaf completed in death what he was unable to accomplish in life. His death cemented both the Christianization of Norwa y and the establishment of a Christian monarchy. Following his death Norway enjoyed one hundred years of internal peace and independence and a line of kings descended from Harald Hardruler. Although there was a brief pagan revival immediately following his death, this quickly gave way to the firm and irreversible establishment of Christianity as the sole recognized religion in Norway. Later medieval accounts of the events leading to his death seek to establish Olaf as a saint and vilify his opponents. The e ffect is to strengthen feelings 57 Whitelock, 130.

PAGE 65

60 Conclusion Throughout his reign, Olaf worked hard to bring about the full Christianization of Norway attempting to combine this with his legal activities in order to produce a Christian monarchy similar to other continental models His methods of conversion were often harsh and he became unpopular as a legislator because of his dispensation of justice. Dissatisfaction on the part of the leading men of the country, combined wit h Knut of death in 1030 at the battle of Stiklestad. However, the very things that led to his exile and death were also the things that he would become best known a nd revered for. After he died, Norwegian dissatisfaction with Danish rule grew to such an extent that within one year Olaf was recognized as a saint a move on the part of his followers that was partially political but also inspired by real devotion, and w ithin five years his son was brought out of exile in Russia and made king of Norway. Although Norway was initially thrown into a chaotic state after his death, the kingdom eventually settled into a peaceful, fully Christianized, and independent Norway, wit h Olaf accomplishing in death what he had tried so hard to do in life. it in varying ways to strengthen their own reigns and to add authority to their own actions. His reputation grew so that he became not only the most popular saint in Norway, but also the most popular saint in all of Scandinavia. He is probably the most written about figure in all of medieval Scandinavian literature. The works written on him ranged from the stro ngly secular to the highly religious, but they nevertheless present a generally consistent depiction of the saint based on his roles as converter and as lawmaker.

PAGE 66

61 One of the limitations of this thesis is in its scope. For example, I had neither the time n or the ability to include as much archaeological evidence as I would have liked. The study of Scandinavian archaeology is fascinating and, when combined with literary and historical studies of the period, can produce wonderful new information and insight i nto the period. The little that was available to me, specifically the stone cross depicting both Odin and Christ, reveal interesting aspects of the period that are not as evident from the written sources. Furthermore, language barriers, time limits, and money meant that I was not able to use a larger range of sources. Many of these sources are difficult to find and often have not been published at all. In the cases where they have been published, the cost was often too high for me and I could not get hold of them Finally, even if they were available, many of the se works have not yet been translated into English from Old Norse. The majority of the sources used in this thesis were originally written in Latin. I did not need to translate from the original La tin since all I wanted to use had already been translated. The fact that they were written in a more widely studied language meant that there was a higher likelihood of them being translated into English, while sources written in Old Norse, a more obscure dead language, were less likely to have been translated. Of the sources used in this thesis, o nly the grip and the Heimskringla were originally in Old Norse and have, fortunately, been translated into English. Since Olaf was the most popular saint in all of Scandinavia it would be interesting to examine a fuller range of sources for the same tendencies in their depiction of Olaf as the ones used in this thesis predecessor, Ola f Tryggvason, who ruled Norway from 995 to 1000. This Olaf, although never recognized as a saint, was also famous for his efforts to convert Norway to

PAGE 67

62 Christianity and for his struggle against Danish overlordship. If Saint Olaf is the most popular figure i n Scandinavian literature, then Olaf Tryggvason is the second most popular figure. It would be interesting to examine his reign and legacy in a study similar to this one, as well as how the differences in their reigns, for example Olaf Tryggvason was kille d in battle against the Danish king instead of through an uprising, and how these influenced the reputations of both missionary kings in later generations. The two Olafs are frequently discussed together and considered to be closely linked by both medieval and modern historians, so a comparative study of the two could yield interesting results. In studies of the Middle Ages, Scandinavia often is only considered in the context of the Viking raids, with internal events frequently neglected. Because of its i solation from the rest of Europe it is rarely discussed in the context of other medieval events, like the Crusades Nevertheless, I have attempted to demonstrate that Sca ndinavia is important and relatable to the rest of medieval Europe outside of the context of the Viking raids. It is regrettable that Scandinavian studies are so often neglected in favor of more general medieval studies since events in Scandinavia often r elate to earlier ones on the continent and can reveal important information about these trends In terms of kingship and conversion in m edieval Europe, for example Scandinavia came at the end of a trend. This can be very valuable for scholars of general E uropean history, not just Scandinavian, since written records are available for much of the conversion period from a variety of sources. However, once Scandinavia began to parallel the rest of Europe, both modern and medieval historians outside of Scandina via began to lose interest in it The eleventh century marks an important point i n medieval Scandinavian history, since t he end of the Viking age is often dated to brother, Harald

PAGE 68

63 Hardruler, in 1066. Christianity and continental fo rms of monarchy became more prevalent in Scandinavia, rest of Europe. Paradoxically, the Viking raids and pagan strongholds that made them so important and interesting to the rest of medieval Europe disappeared, so did European interest in Scandinavia. Nonetheless Scandinavian kingship are revealing both about how older kingdoms might have developed and also what define d a Chri stian monarchy in the Middle Ages

PAGE 69

64 Appendix 1. Map of Medieval Scandinavia Image courtesy of Knut Helle, ed., Cambridge History of Scandinavia Volume I: Prehistory to 1520 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 3.

PAGE 70

65 Appendix 2. Kings and Rulers 1 Kings of Norway c. 880 930 Harald Finehair c. 930 c. 936 Erik Bloodaxe (deposed, king of York 948 954) c. 936 960 Hakon the Good c. 960 970 Harald Greycloak c. 970 995 Earl Hakon 995 1000 Olaf Tryggvason 1000 1015 Earls Sven Hakonarson, Erik Hakona rson, and Hakon Erikson (under Knut the Great) 1015 1028 Olaf Haraldson (Saint Olaf) 1028 1030 Hakon Erikson (under Knut th e Great) 1 From John Haywood, The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings (London: Penguin Books, 1995), 136.

PAGE 71

66 Kings of Denmark c. 720 Angantyr d. 810 Godfred 810 812 Hemming 812 813 Harald Klak (deposed) 812 813 Reginfred (de posed) 813 854 Horik 819 827 Harald Klak (deposed) 854 c. 857 Horik II c. 873 Sigfred, Halfdan d. c. 900 Helgi (possibly legendary) c. 900 936 Olaf, Gnupa, Gurd, Sigtryg (Swedish dynasty) c. 936 940 Hardegon c. 936 958 Gorm the Old 958 987 Harald Bluetooth 987 1014 Sven Forkbeard 1014 1018 Harald II 1019 1035 Knut the Great (also king of England, 1016 1035, king of Norway 1028 1035, king of parts of Sweden 1026 1030) 1035 1042 Harthacnut 1042 1046 Magnus the Good (of Norway) 1046 1074 Sven Estri thson 1074 1080 Harald III 1080 1086 Knut the Holy 1086 1095 Olaf Hunger 1095 1103 Erik the Evergood

PAGE 72

67 Appendix 3. Textual Relationships of A Textual relationships according to Bjarni Abjarnarson Image courtesy of Carol J. Clover and John Li ndow, Old Norse Icelandic Literature: A Critical Guide (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 204.

PAGE 73

68 B Textual Relationships according to Svend Ellehj Image courtesy of Carol J. Clover and John Lindow, Old Norse Icelandic Literature: A Critical G uide (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 205.

PAGE 74

69 Works Cited Primary Sources Adam of Bremen. History of the Archbishops of Hamburg Bremen. Translated by Francis J. Tschan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. Driscoll, M.J., trans. grip af Nregskonungasgum. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1995. Larson, Laurence M., trans. The Earliest Norwegian Laws: Being the Gulathing Law and the Frostathing Law New York: Columbia University Press, 1935. Phelpstead, Carl, ed. A History o f Norway and the Passion and Miracles of the Blessed "lfr Translated by Devra Kunin. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2001. Saxo Grammaticus. Danorum Regum Heroumque Historia X XVI Translated by Eric Christiansen. Oxford: B ritish A rchaeolog ical R eports 1980. Snorri Sturluson. Heimskringla: The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway Translated by Samuel Laing. Lexington: Forgotten Books, 2008. Theodoricus Monachus. Historia de Antiquitate Regum Norwagiensium. Translated by David and Ian McDouga ll. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1998. Whitelock, Dorothy, ed. and trans. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1961. Secondary Sources Bagge, Sverre. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

PAGE 75

70 Berend, Nora. Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy: Scandinavia, Central Europe and 1200. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Brown, Peter. The Cult of the Saints: Its Ri se and Function in Latin Christianity Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982. Clover, Carol J., and John Lindow, eds. Old Norse Icelandic Literature: A Critical Guide Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005. Clunies Ross, Margaret. A History of O ld Norse Poetry and Poetics Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2005. DuBois, Thomas A. Nordic Religions in the Viking Age Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999. Edda 108 ( 2008): 34 56. Einarsson, Stefn. A History of Icelandic Literature. New York: John Hopkins Press for the American Scandinavian Foundation, 1957. Ferguson, Robert. The Vikings, a History. New York: Viking, 2009. Viking Reevaluations: Viking Society Centenary Symposium, May 14 15, 1992 edited by Anthony Faulkes and Richard Perkins, 137 44. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1993. Haywood, John. The Penguin Histori cal Atlas of the Vikings London: Penguin Books, 1995. Helle, Knut, ed. The Cambridge History of Scandinavia Volume I: Prehistory to 1520 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Hollander, Lee M. The Skalds. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1 947.

PAGE 76

71 Conversion, State Formation and Change in Social Infrastructure in Norway c. AD 950 Scandinavian Journal of History 22, no. 2 (1997): 83 97. Roesdahl, Else, and David M. Wilson., eds. From Viking to Crusader: The Scandinavians and Europe 800 1200. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1992. Sawyer, Birgit and Peter. Medieval Scandinavia: From Conversion to Reformation, circa 800 1500. Minneapolis: U niversity of Minnesota Press, 1993. Sawyer, P.H. Kings and Vikings: Scandinavia and Europe AD 700 1100. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1985. Scandinavian Journal of History 23 (1998): 1 19. Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 1 (2005): 251 279. Turville Petre, G. Origins of Icelandic Li terature Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1953.


ERROR LOADING HTML FROM SOURCE (http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu//design/skins/UFDC/html/footer_item.html)